Sitting in a room with my mother and father

2 Comments

Cliff path, north-west Tasmania

Now

On the cliff path, early, the wind a cool shadow
felt at my back: when the sun’s blaze slams
into my chest, I am held between them
as if both would claim me, pass through me.  

So grief, with its heart-heat, its pressuring shadows,
lays claim, passes into and through us.
After, a stillness in which you may learn
from memories, know those who’ve gone
in new ways; and even imagine
their own past knowing of you.

My most frequent memory now
is of sitting in a room with them,
  my mother and father,
the sense of space and warmth in their presence
as, through the opened house, air streams from the garden.    



The Bay

I'm old enough to have wondered
what my last memories will be,
young enough to seek out new ones that might,
in extremis, keep me company.

On a century-old pier stump, far out,
a cormorant airs its wings – a cross-shape against
the mountains, their violet darkness shared
in this light, by reefs in the shallow bay.

Where I wade, gold lines web the seabed,
trace each crinkling green surge. Even cloud-wreathed
the sun lays down a path towards me
as dolphins thread in, their easeful arcs
soon to traverse that ribbed glitter;  
the peace of evening already present.


Diane Fahey

Diane Fahey is one of Australia’s foremost poets. Her most recent publication is The Wing Collection: New and Selected Poems (2012).

 

Topic tags: Diane Fahey, modern Australian poetry

 

 

submit a comment

Existing comments

Both these poems - so gentle and evocative. My only memory of 'sitting in a room with my mother and father' is when I was perched on a window-sill with my father very close by, it's just a fragment.
Pam | 02 February 2015


Such beautiful phrases bring me a peacefulness and draw out my own private yet similar memories of parents long gone. Seeking out thoughts to keep me company in extremis them painting them with a brush made from the sun and the seabed - beautiful. I could see them clearly. Thank you for these moments of healing recall.
Anne Doyle | 03 February 2015


Similar Articles

Helen Garner's 'Best Essays' triumph

  • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
  • 13 February 2015

The Best Australian Essays 2014 finely illustrates the unnervingly unclear line between essay and short story, but no-one plays with form quite like the indomitable Helen Garner. She offers such a brooding, aching ode to her mother. Proof again that good writing is an inexorable, spiritual exercise that seers itself into the reader's memory. How does she do it?

READ MORE

Linguist's life and language lost to Alzheimer's

  • Tim Kroenert
  • 05 February 2015

The brilliant linguistics professor Alice Howland and her biologist husband, John, sit down to break the news to their adult children: Alice has early-onset Alzheimers. At first Alice maintains a fragile, trembling stoicism. But when she tells them the disease may be passed on genetically, the façade slowly implodes. 'I'm sorry,' she weeps, horrified by the prospect of what she clearly sees as a betrayal.

READ MORE

We've updated our privacy policy.

Click to review